The number one childhood illness is pediatric dental disease, which means cavities and tooth decay, and the consequences can lead to extensive treatment that could be beyond the help of a dental professional.
However, the oral health of a child falls in the hands of the parent. Kids don’t understand the importance that dental health plays on their overall wellbeing. Poor oral hygiene can affect development and growth, and have an impact on their self-esteem.
However, that is not all…
- Pediatric disease is more common than asthma and hay fever
- Untreated tooth decay among children can lead to problems eating, speaking, and learning
- Left untreated, pediatric disease can lead to bacterial infection and malnourishment
- Pediatric disease has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and pneumonia
- Can lead to oral pain/toothaches
- May cause poor sleep habits, which has an effect on social development and school performance
A child who has issues with their dental health risks future oral health problems as an adult. For example, if the tissue surrounding the tooth becomes infected it can cause an abscess, which can have an effect on permanent-adult teeth. This may also cause those teeth to erupt in a misaligned position, make them more susceptible to cavities, or result in gum disease.
Lifelong problems are amplified due to early childhood oral-health problems, such as ear infections and tooth loss, which may result in expensive dental treatments later in life.
When tooth decay goes undetected it can lead to infection, and infection has been linked to more serious diseases within the body, such as heart disease and diabetes.
The good news is – tooth decay is preventable:
- Make sure your infant’s pacifier or bottle nipple is clean at all times. This is the perfect place for bacteria to hitch a ride and cause problems within a child’s mouth
- To keep an infant’s mouth clean, use a soft cloth to wipe their gums and teeth
- Encourage children to drink water instead of sugar-filled beverages
- “Monkey see, monkey do.” If your kids see you taking good care of your oral health, they are more likely to imitate the behavior
- Buy products with the sugar alternative: xylitol. Sugar filled treats are usually a child’s favorite, but they don’t have to be harmful to their dental health
- Help your child set dental goals and reward them when they achieve them
- Teach your child the importance of brushing and flossing every day
- Make regular dental visits (at least twice a year)
Kids don’t think about their health in general, overall or dental. That is a worry that comes along with becoming an adult, so it is important for a parent to teach their children good dental habits at a young age. Dental health starts with our first tooth and continues throughout our lives. Contact our office to learn more about how to teach children good dental habits and why it is important to their overall wellbeing.